The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Are Swedes Cooperating Enough with Their Government's Herd Immunity Plan?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Back in April, Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S. told NPR:

“About 30 percent of people in Stockholm have reached a level of immunity. We could reach herd immunity in the capital as early as next month.”

But many Swedes, despite their publicly voiced support for their government’s herd immunity strategy, don’t seem to be personally quite as enthusiastic about their government’s plan for them to contract the virus as their public health officials assumed.

Rather than rushing out to lick subway handrails in support of the state’s Herd Immunity strategy, many Swedes seem to be shying away from doing what it takes to get infected right away: “Thank you, but no, you first.”

A press release (via Google Translate) from Karolinska U. Hospitals in Stockholm:

Large study maps coronas infection in Stockholm
MON, MAY 18, 2020 14:02 CET

About 15 percent of healthy people in Stockholm have undergone or are now infected with the virus that causes covid-19. It shows results from the research study conducted at Karolinska University Hospital.

Over 11,000 employees at Karolinska University Hospital have submitted swallowing [saliva?] tests for virus detection with PCR and blood tests for detection of antibodies against the coronavirus in the blood over the past four weeks, a sign that the person had the infection. When about 5,500 PCR samples and 3,200 antibody samples have now been analyzed, the results show that:
– 7 percent had viruses in the pharynx, detected by PCR.
– 10 percent had antibodies in the blood
– 2.4 percent had both antibodies and viruses

It’s not at all clear if this admirably large sample of hospital employees is representative of Stockholm residents in general. It would seem as if hospital employees would have a relatively high chance of being infected.

It’s clear that Stockholm hospital employees are infected much more than, say, US Major League Baseball employees (less than 1% of whom were infected according to disappointed Stanford researchers). But whether that’s enough to vindicate the Swedish government’s herd immunity strategy remains to be seen.

 
Hide 102 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Did this get covered here? Wouldn’t want anyone to miss it.

    Columbia professor calls Trump supporting student a ‘neo-nazi’ … and more

    So much for the marketplace of ideas.

    A Columbia University professor decided to take the low road during a heated Facebook argument with a student in April. Jeffrey Lax, deputy chair of Columbia’s Political Science department, told the student, who attends a different university, to “drop dead” and called him a “neo-nazi murderer-lover” after he defended President Trump’s handing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The student, Gabriel Montalvo, shared screenshots of Lax’s Facebook comments on a Twitter post on April 6 that has largely escaped media attention until now.

    “I never met Jeffrey Lax in my life. I commented on a political cartoon, where I defended President Trump on how he’s handled the pandemic, that an old high school teacher posted on Facebook,” Montalvo, 21, told The Post. “Mr. Lax then attacked me … He responded very belligerently and at the end of his comment he asked me, “Why don’t you just drop dead, you Neo-Nazi enabler.”

    https://nypost.com/2020/05/16/columbia-professor-calls-trump-supporting-student-a-neo-nazi/

    Oh Rhett, whatever shall we do if all the colleges stay closed??

    • Agree: Coemgen, RichardTaylor
  2. The actual virus doesn’t rate in the top 500 events of the last century.

    My impression is that most the “experts” pushing lockdown-fever don’t believe it themselves. Too many have been found breaking the rules.

    It’s been a field day for:

    – busy-body Karens who like to tattle tale
    – frustrated Marxists and Engineer-Technocrats who yearn to control
    – neurotic head cases who don’t like seeing other people enjoy life
    – and again Marxists who want to normalize government handouts to everyone

    • Replies: @moshe
    , @Ron Mexico
  3. JRB says:

    Sounds about right. Sweden has about 10 million people. Like most countries they messed up the nursing homes. These numbers are probably not included in the official death toll of now 3700, so real deaths are probably around 7000 or 8000. Death rate for Sweden is probably around 1% (higher for immigrants, lower for bio-Swedes). Since the disease is still going on, the number of deaths is lagging behind. Under this assumptions you can conclude that probably between 800.000 and around 1 million Swedes have been infected.

    • Replies: @qwop
    , @Travis
  4. qwop says:

    “swallowing” should be “throat” in the translation.

    The authors claim that hospital staff were equally likely to have antibodies whether they were janitors or cafeteria personnel or front-line COVID caregivers, this is the reason they say that the infections were likely acquired outside of work. The study isn’t done, no preprint to read, so hard to evaluate the truthfulness of this claim.

  5. Thoughts says:

    I just ordered a very silly looking at home sauna…since there are only 2 saunas open in my Scandinavian city..the cheap one being in an inconvenient location, and the fancy upscale one being expensive when considering how often I wish to use it

    Not for Covid, just for general all around health and comfort

    I’m also testing it out for my 74 year old Dad, so I’ll send him a silly video of me in it and let him decide if he wants to get one

    ——————-

    I just heard a story from a friend (In Scandinavia) about a minor surgery going badly at a private hospital….she thinks that things would have gone better if her husband had been allowed with her and maybe bullied the doctors…instead her being alone and getting bullied….she has a list of complaints…

    Basically what I think happened to her is the private hospital she went to got overwhelmed because so many people got kicked out of the Public Health over the last few weeks…everyone flocked to this one private clinic here in Scandinavia…so then they gave Suboptimal Care….fertility related

    I think there’s A LOT of bad side of effects of Coronapanic…even here in Scandinavia

    • Replies: @Thoughts
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  6. qwop says:
    @JRB

    There are two official death tolls. One by the Swedish CDC and one by an agency that I don’t know the American equivalent of, but its official English translation is the “National Board of Health and Welfare”.

    The SCDC one only counts laboratory-confirmed cases, whether in care homes or not.
    The NBHW one counts not only laboratory-confirmed cases, but also suspected cases (according to the attending physician) whether in care homes or not.

    No one pays any attention to the second one in the media, as far as I can tell.

    Then of course you have the measurement by excess deaths. This unofficial count is probably the most valid one, but if I recall correctly off the top of my head the SCDC count accounts for around 75% of the excess mortality.

  7. Thoughts says:
    @Thoughts

    I mean let’s be real…White Fertility is going to crash in all Anglo-Western Nations

    (maybe not in Scandinavia or Germany per se…minus fertility treatments cancelled)

    From the Fertility Treatments being Cancelled

    To the uncertainty of the future

    The elderly who died in the nursing homes in NYC are people good for politically-motivated statistics, not good for passing on an inheritance

    The people good for passing on an inheritance are still perfectly fine, even with Covid

    #Coronahoax – Not worth it

  8. moshe says:

    I found an obscure blog that discusses “The Swedish View” with an extensive interview in NATURE with a top Swedish heakth official.

    Here’s the link:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-swedish-view/

    You should read the article. Instead of referring to the “government’s herd immunity strategy” it explains:

    The Swedish laws on communicable diseases are mostly based on voluntary measures — on individual responsibility. It clearly states that the citizen has the responsibility not to spread a disease. This is the core we started from, because there is not much legal possibility to close down cities in Sweden using the present laws. Quarantine can be contemplated for people or small areas, such as a school or a hotel. But [legally] we cannot lock down a geographical area.

    A commentator even pointed out at that time:

    Am I crazy or is the issue one of Human Rights/safety rather than The Economy®/Safety.

    I feel like the only sane American.

    The Swedish dude said to his inquisitor, “uh, well, you know, the government doesn’t have the legal power to tell all of the citizens to lock themselves up at home and to close up shop and not go to school, we just don’t have that power and – besides – it really doesn’t seem like there’s any real desperate need for us to have that power with regard to this coronavirus, no?”

    And then the interviewer repeats his now-irrelevant question over and over again about whether this “approach” “worked”.

    It has to do with human liberties vs government overreach and how unwarranted government overreach has been, not “did our nursing home staff fuck up more than the nursing home staff of France or Illinois”. Which so happens to be the only relevant question about “approaches that worked or didn’t work”.

    • Agree: Redman
  9. It would seem as if hospital employees would have a relatively high chance of being infected.

    And one might reasonably expect they would follow prudent personal hygiene protocols upon leaving hot zones where they were exposed and also when out in the world.

    The only reason I got sick this year was because some unmasked Asian asshole in the Atlanta international terminal sneezed in my face.

  10. Manual translation:

    Some 15% of healthy Stockholmers have or have had the virus that causes COVID-19, a study at Karolinska University Hospital shows.

    Over the past four weeks, over 11,000 workers at Karolinska University Hospital were administered throat-swab tests for virus detection by PCR and blood tests for detection of coronavirus antibodies, a sign that someone has had the infection. With about 5,500 PCR tests and 3,200 antibody tests analyzed [i.e. about 50% of the PCR tests and 29% of the antibody tests //SF], the results show that:

    — 7% of test takers had the virus in their throats, as detected by PCR.
    — 10% had antibodies in their blood.
    — 2.4% had both antibodies and the virus [I assume these are included in the other two groups since they round the total figure down to 15% rather than up to 20%. //SF]

    “We have tested, in great number, employees working near and away from patients alike and so have an idea of the virus spread among Stockholm’s working population. Our data suggests that about 15% have or have had SARS-CoV-2,” says Joakim Dillner, professor of infectious disease epidemiology and head of the the COVID-19 study.

    “We are now looking at the results from a number of angles, including whether the test takers have a history of illness. Many of those testing positive for the virus in the throat were shown to have been on sick leave once in the past three weeks, and those with antibodies had typically been on sick leave once these past six weeks,” says Joakim Dillner [I think he’s trying to say that those with antibodies had their sick leaves at a further remove from the date of testing than those with active infections, which makes sense. //SF].

    Facts about the COVID-19 study:

    About 11,000 workers at Karolinska University Hospital took part in the study and gave samples for virus detection (PCR) and detection of antibodies. All test takers were to be symptom-free at the time of testing.

    Note that last sentence. Anyone showing symptoms of corona infection — which must have included anyone then on sick leave — was left out of the study. Why they went for this odd sample frame is beyond me.

  11. You’ve really lost the thread on this, Steve. Parsing every antibody study that comes out is all well and good, but the big picture is that we have been put under quasi house-arrest to “protect us” from a virus that we have known is a nothingburger since early April. We’re half-a-year into this thing, and the worldwide death toll is fewer than the number of people who attend the Indy500 every year (except this year), and our response has been to lock down most of the world. This is insanity.

    We know the broad strokes of what we are facing, and the appropriate response to it, as far as the general public should be concerned, is to do approximately nothing. If you are a densely populated urban area, and you do everything wrong, you are looking at a IFR of about 1%. Otherwise, the IFR is something like .5%, .2-.3 for those who are not nursing home patients. For the non-pensioner population, the risk level is ≤ the flu. Protect nursing homes, build extra hospital capacity, and advise the elderly to take extra precautions; that’s it.

    Frankly, whether the IFR is .5% or 5%, my calculation on this doesn’t change. For anything short of the plague, the idea of putting virtually all social, economic, and religious life on hold for months or years while we wait for a vaccine should always be a non-starter.

    • Disagree: NOTA
    • Replies: @Redman
  12. Travis says:
    @JRB

    The fatality rate is well below 1% in Sweden. In Sweden the Public Health Authority recently raised its IFR estimate to 0.6 percent, which is similar to the estimates from New York and Indiana. https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=7474682

    Swedes, like people elsewhere, voluntarily socially distance in a dangerous epidemic – which is one reason that their measures of mobility are similar to other countries. As an aside, that behavior means that if a country completely eliminated all rules, the life of its citizens, and its economy, would not “go back to normal” anytime soon.

    reducing R just prolongs the outbreak, although economic collapse will cost more lives. The purpose of flattening the curve was to avoid overwhelming the hospitals. This was easily achieved. New York had predicted that 140,000 New Yorkers would be hospitalized…the actual peak was 18,000 hospitalized patients back on April 7, and by May 15 less than 6,000 were hospitalized in NY. They predicted a need for 30,000 Ventilators would be needed in NY yet they did not even require 19,000 hospital beds at the peak, which was 6 weeks ago. Time to open up NY. The first wave is over.

    • Replies: @Mike1
    , @Redman
  13. George says:

    “Are Swedes Cooperating Enough with Their Government’s Herd Immunity Plan?”

    Seems like Sweden has not experienced catastrophic failure they were supposed to.

    Belarus might be a more interesting example, their president for life has shown utter contempt for corona virus. Why aren’t they all dead.

    Are American’s cooperating enough? I see viral videos of LA traffic intersections being commandeered so that crowds of youths can watch cars due doughnuts. Someone’s not taking the gov seriously.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Redman
    , @HA
  14. Mark G. says:

    I think the herd immunity strategy may be the right way to go but I have a couple things I’m wondering about. According to this theory, states here in the U.S. which locked down should be seeing big spikes in cases when they reopen since the lockdowns prevented herd immunity. This doesn’t appear to be happening. There’s been some controversy about the accuracy of state statistics but overall here when you do see case increases in reopening states it seems to be due to more people being tested rather than more people actually catching the disease.

    The herd immunity theory could still be true. Cases may have temporarily stopped increasing because the U.S. has entered the summer months with increased warmth, humidity and people out in the Sun soaking up vitamin D and the spike might still happen later next winter.

    There is another possibility, though. This may be a disease that mainly just infects older people with weak immune systems or various health problems and then kills off the most extreme cases of this. The disease could locate and quickly kill off these people and then after they have been carried off the death rates could start dropping even without herd immunity. If that is the case, you may end up seeing drops in deaths here in the U.S. without us reaching herd immunity so herd immunity as a strategy to reduce deaths may not be needed.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    , @utu
  15. Polynikes says:

    Maybe Sweden got it right for the wrong reason. Either way they concluded that this particular virus did not warrant Soviet style government intervention to force lock-downs on their citizens. Maybe we should be praising their political leadership (for once) instead of their epidemiologists?

  16. qwop says:

    A study by the Swedish CDC says 7,3% of subjects in Stockholm County tested positive for antibodies at the turn of the month (data presented at the official press meeting today by the government). This is roughly half the rate observed among the Karolinska Hospital staff, in the study cited by Steve above, and far below the projections of the models.

    However, only 4,7% in the age range 0-19 years tested positive for antibodies, reaffirming that they seem to be less susceptible to this disease. My take is that mild infections are cleared too quickly by the innate immune system for there to be an appreciable antibody response.

    It seems that a country like Spain which instituted a hard lockdown where people were not allowed to leave their house without police permission was more effective in getting its population infected.

  17. Cortes says:

    Off topic (apologies) but you may be shocked, nay SHOCKED, by a recent development in the unfolding tragedy of lockdown in Spain:

    https://www.elperiodico.com/es/sociedad/20200520/coronavirus-fraude-examenes-virutales-educacion-online-7964056?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=elPeriodico-ed16h

    Who could have foreseen? And prices seem to have plummeted.

  18. Redman says:

    Although herd immunity is not what we in NYC sought as a policy, it seems we are probably closer to it than Sweden.

    Of the 8 NY State counties in the NYC metro area, positive tests for the virus range from a low of 22% (Manhattan) to a high of 31% (Queens).

    https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/views/NYS-COVID19-Tracker/NYSDOHCOVID-19Tracker-Map?%3Aembed=yes&%3Atoolbar=no&%3Atabs=n

    These numbers don’t count those who test (or may test) positive for antibodies. People like me and my 77 y/o father both had CV symptoms in early March but have not (yet) been tested for antibodies. If you add the asymptomatics with antibodies (but still not tested), NYC could conceivably be over 50% either infected or immune right now.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  19. Many writers seem to confuse government actions with the public reaction.

    Most Swedes are not acting “normally” as they did pre-CV.

    It is hard to see how you get to herd immunity in that scenario.

    “Herd immunity” can never be achieved by government action, because a significant percentage of the public (who rightly or wrongly perceive themselves as vulnerable) will continue to keep a low public profile regardless.

    • Replies: @Yancey Ward
  20. If Sweden hadn’t swallowed US minoritarianism and imported all those yahoos the last few decades it would be one of the *best* places to be in a pandemic.

    First off it’s easy to isolate the joint and just skip it.

    But if it starts taking off in say Stockholm, you just pack up the family and go early to your summer cabin off in the boonies. Fish, hunt, hike, paddle, sail. Enjoy family time. Occasional trips to town for beer and additional groceries.

    And it’s over.

    Boy what the Swedes have thrown away swallowing the globohomo b.s. from the US. What a shame.

    • Agree: Redman
    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  21. Ola says: • Website

    We seem to be a long way from herd immunity. Today the Swedish Public Health Agency published the preliminary results from the antibody tests from nine Swedish regions (blood samples from April 27-May 3).

    Positive tests in the regions with the highest population densities:

    Stockholm 7.3 %
    Västra Götaland County 3.7 %
    Scania 4.2 %

    By age:

    0-19 years 4.7 %
    20-64 years 6.7 %
    65-70 years 2.7 %

    https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/nyheter-och-press/nyhetsarkiv/2020/maj/forsta-resultaten-fran-pagaende-undersokning-av-antikroppar-for-covid-19-virus/

    FHM Antikroppstester redovisade 20 maj, 2020

  22. The Swedish government’s herd immunity strategy

    Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist, has dismissed this idea as a myth. In his daily press conference, he once again rejected the idea of herd immunity precisely because nobody knows how long immunity will last. There are emergent signs that it may be no more than ~12 months. That’s why a herd immunity strategy would not work well if a vaccine isn’t forthcoming rapidly, which nobody should bet one.

    There are three factors why Sweden has pursued the strategy that it has chosen:

    1) A vaccine is unlikely to be quickly developed, given that coronavirus vaccines are very hard to crack.

    2) Vaccines are almost always giving weaker protection than natural immunity and if this virus gives relatively weak immunity then a vaccine will give even weaker protection. So anyone betting on a vaccine being a holy grail could be gravely disappointed.

    3) Human psychology matters. We could be at this for years. You need a sustainable approach that people can do for a very long time if need be. If you’re a remote island like Iceland it is easier to stamp out a virus, but on a global level it isn’t going to realistically happen. We should prepare for the fact that COVID-19 could become a seasonal virus which won’t be stamped out.

    • Replies: @leterip
  23. FWIW, new admittees to the ICU in Stockholm has been in structural decline for many weeks now. ICU stats are better than daily new cases given that testing has increased by a factor of 5 over the past month.

    The serological study which Folkhälsomyndigheten did in week 18 gave an antibody testing of around 8% for Stockholm specifically. But you need to remember that most of these people were infected around week 15 given that it takes around 3 weeks before you get into the ICU, where most of the testing was done. That would mean around 7.3% had the virus in week 15.

    Some basic modelling suggests that that number should be in the 15-20% range as I write this, which would lower than their initial estimate of 26% for late April. So why are admittees to the ICU falling so rapidly? Partly it is because the measures taken have had an effect, but another possibility is that herd immunity effects (again: a byproduct, not the main strategy) starts kicking in at much lower rates than the 60% figure often bandied about. This is still an open debate.

    Of course, a third possibility is that these serological tests could miss many people who had the virus but had no symptoms and for whatever reason aren’t easy to pick up in these studies. Though that is admittedly a bit more speculative.

  24. @Redman

    Although herd immunity is not what we in NYC sought as a policy, it seems we are probably closer to it than Sweden.

    Not surprising.

    NYC’s excess mortality is almost 400% higher, whereas Stockholm is “only” at 88%. The data is taken from the Financial times.

    P.S. we never sought herd immunity either. That is a misconception.

  25. @Justvisiting

    Herd immunity level of infection, as commonly discussed today, refers to what might be needed given two conditions- the behavior of people prior to the knowledge of COVID-19; and that the entire population was actually susceptible to catching the disease in the first place.

    As you and Sailer note- the behavior of actual people is far different than before, and this will continue going forward for at least the next year- and this doesn’t and never did depend on locking down people in their homes and preventing them from working.

    I suspect the actual susceptibility to the disease is far less than is generally acknowledge. The data suggests that with prior behaviors, quite a bit less than 50% of the population would even ever catch this disease. In other words, with no behavioral changes at all, you already start with a level of essential immunity that is at least 50% and probably more. Sure, maybe nearly everyone would catch the disease if you locked them in a room with an infected person for a week (or they took the NYC subway every single day for the months of April and March), but that isn’t the reality outside of a small number of situations, most of which haven’t applied outside of nursing homes, hospitals and people locked down in their homes for 6 weeks.

    • Replies: @Hail
  26. @Thoughts

    “there are only 2 saunas open in my Scandinavian city”

    “… saunas … Scandinavian …”

    Just admit you’re a Finn.

  27. utu says:

    New Zealand eliminates COVID-19
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31097-7/fulltext

    “On March 23, a month after the country had recorded its first case, New Zealand committed to an elimination strategy. ”

    “The two biggest benefits of pursuing an elimination strategy is that you have few cases and few deaths and you can get business back up and running. The alternative was that we are stuck with the virus and stuck between mitigation and suppression. Suppression is pretty grim.”

    New Zealand edges back to normal after quashing coronavirus in 49 days
    https://www.washingtonpost.com

    How New Zealand beat the coronavirus
    https://www.politico.eu/article/kiwis-vs-coronavirus-new-zealand-covid19-restrictions-rules/

    “The German dead remained anonymous. They were numbers in a utilitarian equation: How many lives are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good of reopening?”

    In the New Zealand papers, every single loss of life was mourned individually. “A real Kiwi bloke,” read the headline of one obituary.”

    • Replies: @utu
    , @peterike
    , @leterip
  28. “Thank you, but no, you first.”

    Alphonse-and-Gaston becomes Adolphus-and-Gustavus.

  29. utu says:
    @utu

    New Zealand Summary
    1,503 cases
    21 deaths
    Last death on May 6
    49,552 tests/1M

  30. @George

    Belarus might be a more interesting example, their president for life has shown utter contempt for corona virus. Why aren’t they all dead[?]

    Nobody leaves, nobody visits. As with “Myanmar”, who wants to go to a country with a name he can’t pronounce?

    (It’s roughly byeh-lah-ROOS. The English name, White Russia, is easy, but nobody uses it. Even the Soviet-era Byelorussia was easier to handle.)

  31. peterike says:
    @utu

    New Zealand eliminates COVID-19

    New Zealand is apropos of nothing. The entire country has fewer people than Brooklyn and Queens.

    • Replies: @utu
  32. utu says:
    @peterike

    This thread is about Sweden. Sweden has 10.2 million. New Zealand has 4.9 million. The deaths of over 3,000 Sweden could have been avoided if Sweden followed other Scandinavian countries or if they did New Zealand elimination approach Sweden who’ll have only 50 fatalities..

    Could Brooklyn or Queens do what NZ did? I doubt it. In American idiocracy it is not really possible. Also people have to have a sense of being together and caring for each other rather than being homo homini lupus est society.

    • Replies: @res
  33. @Mark G.

    There’s been some controversy about the accuracy of state statistics but overall here when you do see case increases in reopening states it seems to be due to more people being tested rather than more people actually catching the disease.

    To a Swedish eye, this is to be expected. Our estimate in early April — well, as I remember it (too lazy to look it up again) — was that 98.7% of total cases went unreported, which would mean that the true number of infected Swedes was (and maybe is) about 75 times the total confirmed cases. Under such conditions, “daily new confirmed cases” will clearly reflect the amount of testing being done more than any actual rise in true cases.

    This may be a disease that mainly just infects older people with weak immune systems or various health problems and then kills off the most extreme cases of this. The disease could locate and quickly kill off these people and then after they have been carried off the death rates could start dropping even without herd immunity.

    Yes, this a popular theory in some quarters and the one I find most likely for the time being:

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-probably-out-of-control-in-dagestan/#comment-3906246

    • Agree: Redman
  34. @AnotherDad

    But if it starts taking off in say Stockholm, you just pack up the family and go early to your summer cabin off in the boonies. Fish, hunt, hike, paddle, sail. Enjoy family time. Occasional trips to town for beer and additional groceries.

    And it’s over.

    This is still the norm for middle- and upper-class Swedes, and perhaps the best part about living here, but it’s true that we can only take so much immigration before life changes for good. Myself, I give Sweden another ten years to get its act together. If our immigration policies aren’t radically better by then, I’m outta here.

  35. Mike1 says:
    @Travis

    The Swedish Case Fatality Rate is over 10%. I’m tired of estimates based on nothing. The thousands of dead people are real.

  36. Redman says:
    @Ryan Andrews

    Well stated. But I can’t tell if you’re a Hoosier or a Brit. “Pensioner” is quite an Irish/Anglo expression. But I would have though most have them have never heard of the Indy 500.

    But I totally agree with the do nothing (or almost nothing) position. Reading about NYC’s response to the Spanish Flu, I was frankly shocked that the health commissioner (Copeland) kept schools, businesses and mass transit open yet NY had a lower fatality rate than most other cities.

    He did stagger opening times of different commerce to avoid crowded transit. But not much else.

  37. Redman says:
    @Travis

    Agree. But I would say in NYC it’s over period. No second wave.

    Despite the shutdown, it is plausible to estimate over 50 percent of people here have had it and are immune.

    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @Travis
  38. Redman says:
    @George

    Belarus has more positive tests for CV than even Sweden, but a far lower IFR. Among the lowest. And didn’t they even keep the soccer games going?

    I’m surprised Belarus isn’t mentioned in the conversations about Sweden. It’s a country of 9 million.

  39. BobX says:

    I was on a project for a Swedish Aerospace division from January-April until they pulled the plug due to coronavirus induced economic concerns. While it may have been optional to go to the office the Swedish team members had been working from home from at least early March. I remember a conversation with one of the guys while waiting for a meeting to start about his kids who you could hear in the background and how he thought they should be a daycare, but his wife was having none of that insisting they stay home.

    I think it safe to say Sweden’s rush to full sweep has been greatly exaggerated.

  40. HA says:
    @George

    “Seems like Sweden has not experienced catastrophic failure they were supposed to.”

    They didn’t avoid catastrophic failure — they simply denied hospital access to the elderly and left them in the nursing homes to die (i.e. basically the same sleazy trick that Cuomo played).

    Now, increasing numbers of workers [in Sweden] are also coming forward to criticise regional healthcare authorities for protocols which they say discourage care home workers from sending residents into hospital…

    Remember, you can’t overload the hospitals if you deny enough people entry into the hospitals. That’s socialized medicine 101. And even Swedish officials admit they failed in protecting the elderly, but given that having done so, they can claim that they avoided hospital overload, I guess to them it was all worth it.

    • Replies: @leterip
    , @utu
    , @utu
  41. utu says:
    @Mark G.

    “The disease could locate and quickly kill off these people and then after they have been carried off the death rates could start dropping even without herd immunity. “ – This disease must be pretty clever. Isn’t it what one could overhear spoken among Swedes? Could it be the reason why they left the door open with the welcoming committed waiting for the virus in their nursing homes in case the super intelligent virus had difficulties in locating the old and infirm?

    Obviously the disease has no ability to locate susceptible people. The infection rate (IR) in population will vary with age but not because of age susceptibility but because of mobility and activity. So one would expect that IR for old people would be smaller. The age group with the highest IR most likely has very low IFR. The response to epidemic should be trying to keep IR as low as possible for the age groups with the highest IFR. In Sweden it was not done. That’s why the are prone to talk the mumbo-jumbo of disease aboility to locate the most vulnerable to absolve themselves from their negligence or worse.

    • Replies: @Mark G.
  42. res says:
    @utu

    Are you really not going to mention the small detail of New Zealand being made up of islands?

    • Replies: @utu
    , @dfordoom
  43. leterip says:
    @utu

    So what does NZ do now. Quarantine everyone coming into the country until a vaccine is available? If a vaccine is ever available. They have painted themselves into a corner.

    • Replies: @utu
  44. leterip says:
    @HA

    In the USA, the average cost of medical care in a person’s last year of life is a high % of the entire rest of their life. This strikes me as abhorrent for a number of reasons. While I am not a fan of Sweden in general, I like this approach of not subjecting people near death to unlimited treatments. There are now two new things about Sweden I like – their Covid approach and their end of life approach.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @HA
  45. leterip says:
    @Thulean Friend

    I think this is mostly a semantic difference rather than a practical difference. We, non experts, call it “herd immunity” and this may not be the proper term. But Sweden is certainly planning on allowing the virus to run it’s course through healthy people until enough have attained immunity to reduce the spread. They say herd immunity is not a goal but they also say that increasing immunity of their population, that will reduce future spread will be an outcome of their strategy. I think the way they use differentiate between “goal” and “outcome” is also merely wordplay. I think they avoid using the word “herd immunity” and “goal” because of the UK advertising this as their initial strategy.

  46. Mark G. says:
    @utu

    This disease must be pretty clever.

    The disease doesn’t need to be clever at all. It doesn’t actively search in the sense that it is consciously looking for susceptible people like a house burglar looks for an unlocked house. It’s a virus. It is possible it is just carried around by one person until that person comes into contact with another person who is susceptible and then jumps over to that other person. There are a number of factors that could lead to a person being susceptible. This could include age and the health condition of that particular person.

    The mobility of a person may not be a major factor in spreading the disease. One infected person could come into contact with a hundred young healthy people and no one will catch it while another infected person could only leave their house to visit their granny at the nursing home and then pass it on to her. So instead of locking down the entire population of young people to keep them away from carriers of the disease it may be more effective to isolate older people. I’m not an apologist for Sweden. The problem with Sweden may not be so much that they didn’t lockdown as that they didn’t protect their nursing homes as well as they should.

    One problem here is that the benefits of lockdowns are immediate and apparent with lower death rates but the costs of the lockdowns are unknown and off in the future. Since we don’t know for sure what these costs are yet it may be a bit premature to proclaim your side is right if you are on the pro-lockdown side. Utu, have you considered the possibility that people may be against lengthy lockdowns not because they don’t care if people die but because they genuinely think that in the long run the effect will be more people passing away prematurely in the future?

    • Replies: @utu
    , @dfordoom
  47. @leterip

    All you have to know is what the last year of life is going to be.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @leterip
  48. utu says:
    @res

    Are you really not going to mention the small detail of New Zealand being made up of islands? – So is UK, so is Ireland. Have you heard about airplanes? Yes, you did. Didn’t the puppy do his usual dance of whimpering and fawning routine around James Thompson feet about the Brazilian paper that was about covid19 expansion driven by airport connections?

    This is not about geography but about political will guided by values that once used to be natural and fundamental in our civilization. For some reason Kiwis still subscribe to them while the rest of the Western World pays only the lip service.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @res
    , @Johnny Rico
  49. utu says:
    @Mark G.

    “The response to epidemic should be trying to keep IR as low as possible for the age groups with the highest IFR. In Sweden it was not done. That’s why the are prone to talk the mumbo-jumbo of disease ability to locate the most vulnerable to absolve themselves from their negligence or worse.”

    • Replies: @Mark G.
  50. utu says:
    @HA

    Commenter Dmitri on the pagan root of Swedish callousness and disregard for human life:

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-probably-out-of-control-in-dagestan/#comment-3907379
    “In response to pandemic, the cultural orientation of the country seems to have more influence, than people like to present – and the country’s experts are using “logical” reasoning to justify their cultural orientation, rather than the logical thought leading the policies.”

    “Sweden has one of the most distinctive cultural orientation, and the eccentricity of their policies is maybe not the surprise. I sense that Swedish unconscious approach to the virus is some kind of pagan Gaianism – “it’s just part of nature, and what is natural cannot be bad for you”.

    “I watched an interview with Swedish epidemiologist, and found he was logical at times. But then there’s a lot of “gaps” in his arguments, where the missing steps are more like intuitive and religious views.”

    And commenter Swedish Family added on Giesecke, the Swedish epidemiologist :

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/corona-probably-out-of-control-in-dagestan/#comment-3907650
    “I like Giesecke, but I cringed a little when he said that democracies “can’t do” what the Chinese did to tackle the virus. It was such a textbook example of mixing up ideological limits and actual limits, an error one meets all the time in Swedish public life. Also cringed when he went on that rant about Orban and other authoritarians seizing this moment to further their power, which might be true but should have zero bearing on what policies are best for Sweden.”

    • Thanks: HA
  51. Mark G. says:
    @utu

    The response to the epidemic should be trying to keep IR as low as possible for the age groups with the highest IFR.

    Is that the only goal we should be trying to achieve as a society? Nothing else? If that is the only goal are they any limits to the costs, both present and future, that should be incurred to achieve that goal or should we sacrifice everything else if needed to achieve that one goal?

    • Replies: @utu
  52. HA says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “All you have to know is what the last year of life is going to be.”

    Oh, that’s nothing. I hear they’ve come up with ways to predict the very last SECOND of life, with amazing accuracy. Just go to your favorite search engine and type in “youtube midsommar cliff scene”.

  53. HA says:
    @leterip

    “There are now two new things about Sweden I like – their Covid approach and their end of life approach.”

    In other words, even something that Sweden admits was an abject failure on their part — i.e letting grandma die of pneumonia, gasping for her last breaths like a waterboarded prisoner — is a feature-not-a-bug to their alt-right fanboys. To them, that constitutes quality end-of-life.

    Hey, if you swapped out choking to death for, say, vivisection, you could probably solve the organ-donor deficit, too. All you’d have to do is maybe push that “donation” up a bit, but given what you’re already willing to tolerate, that should be easy.

    • Agree: dfordoom, utu
    • Replies: @Anon
  54. res says:
    @utu

    This is not about geography

    If you think geography does not make a difference then you are a fool.

    • Agree: Yancey Ward
    • Replies: @utu
  55. Travis says:
    @Redman

    True, New York and New Jersey will not get a second wave. Probably 30% of them will have the antibodies by Autumn and 33% of the population is under the age of 30 and effectively immune without a need for antibodies. So 60% of the population will be at zero risk of being hospitalized with COVID19. NY and NJ will also take more precautions with nursing home patients and giving them access to hydroxychloroquine. Trump saved thousands of lives by announcing he is taking this prophylactic.

  56. utu says:
    @res

    Ok, res you wanted to use the word ‘fool’ so much that you had to create a straw man. Usually you try to be more careful as you pride yourself in being an expert in eristic fallacies but ‘reason is the slave to passion” (Hume) though your ‘passion’ is rather ugly; it is driven by the ill will, nothing else. You are losing it.

    I said ‘This is not about geography’ with emphasis on ‘This’. I did not say ‘geography does not make [ever] a difference’, you said that. In your first comment you seemed to suggest that New Zealand being an island(s) was critical for it eliminating the virus. : “Are you really not going to mention the small detail of New Zealand being made up of islands?’ To which I have mentioned Ireland and UK.

    So tell me now what NZ has geographically that Ireland does not have geographically that can account for the striking difference in their tackling the epidemic: Ireland 319 deaths/1M and NZ 4 death/1M? It is over in NZ while in Ireland they still have about 10 deaths per day. Or what about Taiwan also an island with over 3 times higher population density than Ireland? So what is it in Ireland that it could not pull off what NZ or Taiwan did? Lack of snakes. NZ also has no snakes. Is it Atlantic vs. Pacific? Then what about Iceland: 29 deaths/1M?

    It is what people do that matters. They decide on the outcome. Ireland never wanted to eliminate the virus. They just went with the half-ass measure under the meme of curve fattening. While in NZ they knew was they wanted and they did it. Ireland could do exactly as well if there was political vision and will. It is about people and their values and institutions they create.

    • Replies: @res
  57. ziggurat says:

    How important are varying levels of “viral load” to the varying outcomes of the infected?

    Given that so many people get infected and develop antibodies completely unawares, I wonder if they just got a small dose of viral particles.

    If so, then could you just pay people to receive a small, controlled dose? In this way, you could accelerate the progression to herd immunity.

    Also, for the low risk population (i.e., young, healthy), the risk is already small for any significantly bad outcomes. So, perhaps this group could be immunized first.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @dfordoom
  58. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    Are you really not going to mention the small detail of New Zealand being made up of islands?

    Britain is made up of islands. They still managed to make a mess of their response.

    What matters is competent government vs incompetent government.

    • Replies: @Gordo
    , @res
  59. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Mark G.

    have you considered the possibility that people may be against lengthy lockdowns not because they don’t care if people die but because they genuinely think that in the long run the effect will be more people passing away prematurely in the future?

    There certainly seem to be plenty of people in the anti-lockdown camp who really don’t care if people die.

  60. @ziggurat

    That’s “variolation,” which was away to immunize people against smallpox before Edward Jenner’s cowpox-based vaccine. You give people a very small dose of smallpox and hope they survive it and get immune. Cotton Mather helped introduce variolation to 18th Century America. It was better than nothing, but not as good as Jenner’s better vaccine.

    • Replies: @res
  61. Bert says:

    It is what people do that matters. They decide on the outcome.

    It is about people and their values and institutions they create.

    Nothing more true could be said about the SARS-2 pandemic. And one must conclude that the USA and its people have demonstrated how far they have fallen in a hundred years.

  62. dfordoom says: • Website
    @ziggurat

    If so, then could you just pay people to receive a small, controlled dose? In this way, you could accelerate the progression to herd immunity.

    Are you going to volunteer to be the first guinea pig?

  63. utu says:
    @HA

    The false alternative between the meme of herd immunity and meme of curve flattening aka lockdowns. The option of the VIRUS ELIMINATION was never put on the table. The battles within the false alternative waged here and everywhere exemplified by commenters ” just the flu” and “IFR<0.1%" Hail or "herd immunity" res and all those obsessing about Sweden keep the virus elimination option outside of the discourse. The virus elimination option is not even within the awareness. This is not by accident that the best option was overlooked.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/what-is-the-herd-immunity-rate-60-infected-in-3-italian-towns/#comment-3908367

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @res
    , @HA
  64. utu says:
    @leterip

    NZ will have to test the arrivals and quarantine the suspect arrivals for a week or two. This was always a normal thing to do. The US had its Elis Island and in the UK they quarantined people coming from areas with contagions and animals were always quarantined and probably still are, also in the US. When the Channel Tunnel was being built the British press was very concerned about animals and especially the rabid dogs using it to come to the UK bypassing the quarantine.

    From the nationalist perspective NZ approach presents an ideal opportunity to take control of borders, assert sovereignty and overhaul the immigration policy. But the so called self-proclaimed nationalists on the alt-right especially obviously will miss that opportunity being as usually distracted to bark at the wrong tree. There is a big forrest of wrong trees that the alt-right barked at. Why is it so? Why do the alt-right is taken by herd immunity meme? This is because of moral failure. A lack of moral spine condemns every political movement and ideology into irrelevance. Amoral utilitarians can’t do anything of value that would last. If they had a moral spine they would not allow killing their grand parents and they would see the herd immunity meme for what it really is. But they can’t. So they are condemned to planting the forrest of wrong trees. TPTB like their accomplishments very much.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/what-is-the-herd-immunity-rate-60-infected-in-3-italian-towns/#comment-3908367

  65. wren says:

    It seems that immigrants in Nordic countries are getting hit harder by this than the natives.

    https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-takes-toll-swedens-immigrant-062428162.html

    Perhaps it is the multigenerational housing and inability to work from home.

    Matt Ridley argues that it may be that their skin is too dark too.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-growing-evidence-on-vitamin-d-and-covid

    Others have said that vitamin D pills may not be effective in their cases.

    • LOL: Sean
  66. utu says:
    @Mark G.

    NZ solved the problem in 49 days. Now they will have to control who comes to their country by testing and guaranteeing. Perfect opportunity to reassert national interests, sovereignty, border control and immigration overhaul.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/what-is-the-herd-immunity-rate-60-infected-in-3-italian-towns/#comment-3908367

  67. @utu

    No, it was not by accident. You are right.

    It is because it is an ABSURD option. It was certainly considered. And quickly found to be unachievable at an acceptable cost.

    It would have required a complete lockdown and travel-ban with draconian enforcement when the lockdown(s) that ARE happening in western countries are being questioned.

    “The battles within the false alternative waged here and everywhere”

    Not really. Most people that I know and talk to in Boston and others in other states and countries aren’t really concerned with these “battles” you speak of. They are doing the best they can with the circumstances they are in.

    Most adults understand that nobody has any clear answers to the situation or any clear-cut solutions and understand that their leaders are doing the best they can with the information or lack of it that they have.

    The only people who are obsessed with Sweden, like yourself, don’t really see that it is NOT an outlier. It has the same per capita covid death rate as the United States.

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @utu
  68. @utu

    This is not about geography but about political will guided by values that once used to be natural and fundamental in our civilization. For some reason Kiwis still subscribe to them while the rest of the Western World pays only the lip service.

    Are you gonna give us any clues here? Do we get any hints?

    Like, are these same values also held currently by China and Sweden? Or just China? How about Vietnam?

    New Zealand is not only an island, but it also has a population of only 4.9 million. Does that number count as well as the “civilizational” values – but not the geography?

    What exactly is your complete formula for what this is “about”?

    • Replies: @utu
  69. @RichardTaylor

    “– busy-body Karens who like to tattle tale
    – frustrated Marxists and Engineer-Technocrats who yearn to control
    – neurotic head cases who don’t like seeing other people enjoy life
    – and again Marxists who want to normalize government handouts to everyone”

    Damn, you just psychoanalyzed Gretchen Whitmer. Well done, sir. Just like the rebel barber in Owosso, MI said, “She’s not my mommy!”

    • Thanks: RichardTaylor
  70. utu says:
    @Johnny Rico

    “It is because it is an ABSURD option. It was certainly considered. And quickly found to be unachievable at an acceptable cost.” – Taiwan and New Zealand are absurdistans that did not get the memo?

  71. utu says:
    @Johnny Rico

    “What exactly is your complete formula for what this is “about”?” – Political will. It took 49 days for NZ to accomplish virus elimination. Taiwan 7 deaths total. Last new infection on May 7.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  72. Mark G. says:

    NZ solved the problem in 49 days.

    You only know there are no cases right now. You seem to be acting like the future will certainly remain like the present but the future is never certain. The New Zealand tourism industry has just requested a government bailout. The actual alternatives are to either maintain the closed border forever or until a vaccine is available, if that actually happens, and kiss the tourism industry goodbye or eventually reopen the border and run the risk of a spike in new cases. Very few people are going to visit a country where they have to stay quarantined first for for two weeks.

    China just had to shut down the northern part of the country, with a hundred million people, in spite of having a severe lock down that supposedly stamped out the disease there. To keep something like this from happening in New Zealand may mean no more tourists coming in and the one eighth of New Zealanders who work in the tourism industry losing their jobs. You can also throw in the loss of jobs in higher education as fewer foreign students come in. Plus the jobs that may have been permanently lost due to the shutdown itself. Plus the jobs lost as companies are less likely to relocate to a country which is difficult to get in and out of. This is going to be a lot of lost jobs.

    Even if New Zealand can successfully do this, the same policy may not be applicable to other countries. What works for a small out of the way island may not work for international business centers like New York or London. New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world probably gave it extra time to lock down but other countries didn’t have that luxury. By the time New Zealand locked down at the end of February the disease had already spread in New York and a lock down for them at the same time would have been too late. Its isolation may have made it possible for New Zealand to follow the course it has but that doesn’t mean you can apply the same policy to the whole rest of the world.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @dfordoom
  73. @Mark G.

    It would seem like testing could replace quarantine for travelers. New Zealand could demand that airlines carrying travelers test before they get on the plane to come to New Zealand and then NZ customs would also test travelers when they arrive. If they are positive upon arrival, the airline gets socked with a big fine.

    It’s kind of like how Ellis Island told the steamship companies that any immigrants arriving with tuberculosis would have to be transported back to Europe at the steamship companies’ expense.

  74. @Steve Sailer

    It would seem like testing could replace quarantine for travelers.

    Yes, exactly. There are some options that fall in between ‘tourist visas for everybody upon arrival’ and hardcore quarantine for all visitors.

    At some point, hopefully fairly soon, a few countries will start accepting testing certificates or something similar in lieu of quarantine, and then many more may follow.

    The UK briefly floated the idea of having reciprocal arrangements with other countries with similar levels of infection instead of putting arrivals into quarantine, but that balloon got popped pretty quickly. It was too soon.

    In a few weeks, though, as northern hemisphere weather gets nicer, and everybody in Europe and North America starts feeling the absence of the holidays they aren’t taking, the mood could change.

  75. Mark G. says:
    @Steve Sailer

    It would seem like testing could replace quarantine for travelers.

    Not a bad idea. I don’t know if testing would be as effective but it may be effective enough and at a much lower cost. The old saying about not letting the best be the enemy of the good may apply here.

    There may be other low cost ways of slowing the spread of the disease and reducing overall case counts. The primary benefit of slowing the spread is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed but there are secondary benefits like increasing needed supplies, ramping up testing, and more time to find better treatment methods. If you can maximize the benefits while at the same time minimizing the costs it may be worthwhile. We are currently reopening in my state. We are doing things like taking temperatures, wearing masks and staying six feet apart. We have long lines of unemployed people in my state showing up to get free food from the government and if doing simple things like this enable people to go back to work and have an income again I’m all for it.

    It’s been frustrating watching different sides on this. One side just looks at a particular benefit while ignoring any costs. The other side focuses on the costs and ignores any benefits. Things like looking at both and doing a cost-benefit analysis or considering things like solving one problem may cause a bigger problem or that the law of diminishing returns eventually kicks in at some point aren’t being done to the extent they need to be.

    • Agree: res
  76. Anon[368] • Disclaimer says:
    @HA

    You are trying to use the grandma thing to invoke sympathy, but some grandmothers are nasty abusive people like you who are no more worthy of sympathy than an ant. I feel bad for people who have to be around you IRL.

    • Replies: @HA
  77. Gordo says:
    @dfordoom

    Britain is made up of islands. They still managed to make a mess of their response.

    What matters is competent government vs incompetent government.

    Not so much incompetent, closing the airports, stopping inflow, its like blasphemy against globalism and multiracialism. Boris couldn’t even contemplate doing that.

  78. Hail says: • Website
    @Yancey Ward

    I suspect the actual susceptibility to the disease is far less than is generally acknowledge.

    Corona are known to have have a lower spreading threshold (before the herd immunity mechanism kicks in and ends the epidemic) than influenza viruses.

    Dr. Wodarg has suggested 20% in a given social network is the level coronaviruses seek before fading. That in an all-else-equal scenario of first-world regular life. Not a petri-dish scenario. Real-life never fits the model, but the point is the coronavirus threshold is known to be lower.

    Coronaviruses are also part of the regular circulation of flu viruses, something I think is still not widely known. They are not different in terms of effect on a person’s health; (CVODI19″ as an undiagnosable disease, named for purely political reasons, the symptoms of which are indistinguishable from the no-scary-name Flu). To the extent they are different under the specialist’s lens: They have been observed to emerge at the end of the winter in Europe, namely March. This one started at exactly the same time.

    Unlike every other coronavirus, almost all of which were ignored totally and circulated mainly in late-winter with the population, bloodthirsty media, and pro-Panic coalition-in-waiting entirely unaware, this one assembled a coalition around itself to promote fear of it. The reasons are many. It actually became a virus-centered religious cult, and the media were its superspreaders.

    • Replies: @res
  79. Another sad example of how google has been left behind on translation. Although the vastly superior deepl.com doesn’t do Swedish, in this case even tech’s greatest loser (Bing) has them beaten.

    Large study maps corona infection in Stockholm
    Mon, MAY 18, 2020 14:02 CET
    Approximately 15 percent of healthy people in Stockholm have undergone or are now infected with the virus that causes covid-19. This is shown by results from the research study conducted at Karolinska University Hospital.

    Over 11,000 employees at Karolinska University Hospital have over the past four weeks submitted throat tests for virus detection with PCR and blood samples for the detection of antibodies to the corona virus in the blood, a sign that the person had the infection. When approximately 5,500 PCR samples and 3,200 antibody samples have now been analysed, the results show that:
    – 7% had viruses in the pharynx, demonstrated with PCR.
    – 10% had antibodies in their blood
    – 2.4% had both antibodies and viruses

    “We have sampled a large number of employees with different tasks, both patient-close and not patient-close, and have thus gained an idea of the spread of infection in Stockholm’s working population. Our data then indicate that about 15 percent have or have had SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection,” says Joakim Dillner, professor of infectious epidemiology and responsible for the Covid-19 study.

    “We are now studying the results from a variety of perspectives. Among other things, we investigate whether the participants have previously been ill. Those who were positive for viruses in the pharynx had been largely on sick leave at some point in the last three weeks and those who had antibodies in their blood had usually been on sick leave at some point in the last six weeks,” says Joakim Dillner.

    Facts covid-19 study
    More than 11,000 employees at Karolinska University Hospital participated in the study, providing samples for viral detection (PCR) and blood samples for antibody detection.
    All participants would be without symptoms at the time of sampling.

  80. res says:
    @utu

    I said ‘This is not about geography’ with emphasis on ‘This’. I did not say ‘geography does not make [ever] a difference’, you said that. In your first comment you seemed to suggest that New Zealand being an island(s) was critical for it eliminating the virus. : “Are you really not going to mention the small detail of New Zealand being made up of islands?’ To which I have mentioned Ireland and UK.

    So tell me now what NZ has geographically that Ireland does not have geographically that can account for the striking difference in their tackling the epidemic: Ireland 319 deaths/1M and NZ 4 death/1M? It is over in NZ while in Ireland they still have about 10 deaths per day. Or what about Taiwan also an island with over 3 times higher population density than Ireland? So what is it in Ireland that it could not pull off what NZ or Taiwan did? Lack of snakes. NZ also has no snakes. Is it Atlantic vs. Pacific? Then what about Iceland: 29 deaths/1M?

    First, let’s take the UK. The UK has Heathrow airport. Which basically guaranteed early exposure to the virus in volume unless they were willing to shut many flights down.

    Ireland is a more interesting example. Looking at this page:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Background:_December%E2%80%93January
    We see that the first known cases were from Italy. So I would say the major difference between Ireland and New Zealand was Ireland has closer travel links to Italy (proximity is geography, right?). If you remember the early days many countries were aware travel from China was an issue, but few or none thought to watch out for Italy early (e.g. look at the US travel restrictions).

    Ireland also seems to have bungled the response in important ways. See the link.

    My point was that strict lockdowns are easier to accomplish on an island than elsewhere. That does not mean islands can’t screw them up. But it does mean one should be careful about assuming approaches which work on islands (especially islands which aren’t major transport hubs) will work on countries with land borders. Especially borders which aren’t easily closed.

    Hopefully that makes clear what I was saying with “If you think geography does not make a difference then you are a fool.”

    And let’s revisit a specific part of the quote from you above: you seemed to suggest that New Zealand being an island(s) was critical for it eliminating the virus.

    Are you suggesting it was not? Being an island might not be the only factor, but it is important.

    P.S. It’s funny that you mention Ireland and NZ both not having snakes. Shows what an unsophisticated thinker you are. That common lack of snakes is an excellent example for making my point that being an island has important implications for isolation.

    BTW, I think I found a new catchphrase:
    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/93417/why-are-there-no-snakes-ireland

    There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

    So, New Zealand is, well, an island. Which makes it easier to isolate and eliminate COVID-19. But does not guarantee it happening.

    P.P.S. How many times do I have to stomp all over one of your “arguments” before you realize maybe you should try listening to what I say rather than reflexively disagreeing with it?

    • Replies: @utu
  81. res says:
    @dfordoom

    Britain is made up of islands. They still managed to make a mess of their response.

    What matters is competent government vs incompetent government.

    Embrace the power of and (and move beyond the childish world of false dichotomies). Competent government matters. Being an island also matters.

    As I said in my comment to utu, Britain also has Heathrow airport. I think that and their proximity to Italy made an important difference in the difficulty of their task. But yes, they made a mess of their response.

    The reason I bring up the island issue is not to imply it makes elimination easy and impossible to screw up. It is to make clear that strategies which work to eliminate the virus on an island may not be sufficient to do so for a country with land borders which are not easily closed.

    I am baffled that there are people who seem not to understand this.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @dfordoom
  82. res says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Here is an April 29th paper which takes a thoughtful look at the possibility of using variolation for COVID-19:
    Exit Route? The Case for Variolation Against COVID-19
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3587397

    An intriguing idea from the abstract:

    Should it turn out that infection by HCoV-NL63, a less harmful coronavirus that binds to the same ACE 2 receptor, confers immunity to SARS-CoV-2, then it would offer a form of inoculation lying in between vaccination and variolation and the same kind of reasoning could also justify its use.

    More from the body below (the whole paper is interesting and worth at least skimming), worth reading IMHO, but kind of long. So.

    [MORE]

    A subtlety from the body which I had not considered.

    Secondly, there is the scope for the virus to be introduced into the body via an advantageous route. The widespread suspicion that the inhalation of virus particles as aerosols (as opposed to larger droplets) tends to lead to a more severe form of disease implies that so long as we avoid aerosolization, the disease will on average be milder.16 Also, Roberts and Fenner et al’s hypothesis about a rapid immune response from cutaneous introduction in the smallpox case has been made more plausible by what we now know about the generality of antigen presenting cells in the skin.17 There is no guarantee that the cutaneous route will work for SARS-CoV-2, but there are alternatives that can be tried. For example, influenza challenge trials have usually relied on intranasal delivery, such as a droplet spray, in part at least for the very reason that this generally leads to a more mild form of the disease.18 Studies suggest that the dose of influenza A required to cause infection via the nasal route is several orders of magnitude higher than that of ordinary airborne infection.

    This excerpt gives an idea of where the high risk age cutpoint is.

    In the UK assume that the basic reproduction number, R0, is 3, the mid-point of that recently allowed for in the European context by Flaxman et al.20 With the crude simplifying assumption that no one has been infected previously, we need to inoculate a cohort of all those aged up to 52 and some of those aged 53 in order to reach herd immunity (Table 1, Column G). Taking the mortality estimates by age from Ferguson et al, deaths are then not quite 42,000 (Column H).21 The size of this number is heavily sensitive to small changes in R0, almost half the deaths here occurring in those aged 49-53.

    But note that since the IFR is roughly exponential with age it is likely that most of the deaths will occur in a small window of ages near the threshold, whatever it is. It is just that the total number of deaths will vary with age threshold.

    Table 1 (at the end) shows a detailed numerical comparison of the scenarios by age group. They show a mortality rate of 0.15% for ages 40-49 and 0.60% for ages 50-59. So I think grouping into buckets will overstate mortality for early 50s and understate mortality for late 40s. So I suspect their mortality figures will be overestimates and in particular will overstate deaths for those in their early 50s.

    A comparison with other another scenario:

    The upper bound is also much lower than the total mortality to be expected from COVID-19 directly in many of the other scenarios in which herd immunity is achieved. For example, if one makes the dismal assumptions that a vaccine cannot be found in time and that the efforts aimed at cocooning high-risk groups fail, so that the contributions to herd immunity come from all age groups equally, then with R0 of 3 the expected mortality in the UK is 565,000 (Table 1, column E). Against this scenario, it implies a reduction of at least 92 per cent. Comparing life-years lost, variolation costs just under 1.6 million (Column I), a reduction of at least 80 per cent against the dismal expectation of 7.8 million (column F). 21

    And another scenario:

    Even if a vaccine arrives reasonably quickly, variolation could still reduce mortality. Consider an optimistic scenario in which a vaccine becomes available 18 months after variolation could have been implemented. Any average death toll above 77 implies more deaths will accumulate during the 547 days we wait for the vaccine to arrive than from the upper bound of the under-52s variolation deployment strategy; and 77 is about 10 per cent of the daily deaths from COVID-19 directly that the NHS in the UK is currently reporting

  83. utu says:
    @res

    You are are backtracking from your geographic argument or rather the reflexive yelp because it did not amount to an argument. The only geographic component is indirect which is that islanders have a sense of isolation, are more likely to have a strong sense of sovereignty to practice quarantine for the incoming outsiders. They have a stronger sense of social cohesion and solidarity with each other. It all comes down to human affairs and human habits of mind which are cultural. However the Irish for the very well know reasons have lost these traits while the Kiwis have acquired them when they settled in NZ and kept them as their response to the epidemic demonstrated. It is all about culture. That we even discuss the island phenomenon is only because of your reflexive yelp. Not only Ireland could have done exactly what NZ did but even Belgium could have done exactly what New Zealand did but the differences were cultural not geographic and the cultural differences prevented Ireland as well as Belgium from trying to do what NZ did to successfully eliminate the virus.

    It seems that your mind is not inclined to see the full importance of culture and always spirals down to simple ‘mechanist’ solutions. Your infantile preoccupations with the IQism, which fortunately in the times of cholera are in remission, exemplify this predilection of yours.

    • LOL: res
  84. anon[199] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    Competent government matters. Being an island also matters.

    I believe you are the third person to point this out to dfordoom. Maybe he’ll grasp the concept this time. Let’s hope so.

  85. res says:
    @utu

    Don’t forget to add “elimination” utu.

    What’s your endgame, utu? Do we keep the lockdowns on forever?

    How do you think an elimination strategy will fare through the upcoming flu season?

    I think elimination is a classic example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. Or perhaps better stated as attempting to attain perfection causing even worse failure.

    But I could be wrong. Maybe we will get a vaccine very soon. Or the virus will just stop without us reaching herd immunity or applying interminable lockdowns.

  86. HA says:
    @utu

    The NZ approach would definitely be better than what we settled on. But while there are plenty of people who would be happy (at this point — not so much earlier on, before they knew the government was willing to get serious) to put a contact tracing app on their phone if it meant they could go back to their bars and gyms, many others would rather have grandma die than to allow Google or Bill Gates to know where they are. Libertarians, end-of-days evangelicals, “community activists” convinced that the government wants to track the minorities — all would freak out and join the Typhoid Mary fan club. At the least it would take several months for that kind of thing to wind its way through the courts, and no telling it would be able to survive.

    In most other places, people are able to come together in times of crisis. But that’s not how it works in America, at least not with a virus whose victims are regarded by so many others as not really worth saving or else, to put it frankly, deserving of death — though of course they’d find a better euphemism for that. That’s another reason why the Swedish approach won’t work here, either — it requires too much trust in the government.

    Eventually, some virus will come along that targets the young, or has a higher kill rate, and enough people will face reality and accept contact tracing apps the way they eventually accepted seat belts and no-smoking restrictions and other so-called “nanny state meddling”. I suspect the Chinese wet markets or African bushmeat trade will soon go back to business-as-usual, so it’s only a matter of time.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @Justvisiting
    , @dfordoom
  87. res says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Good analogy. I was unaware of that Ellis Island policy. Incentives work.

    Does anyone have a link describing the policy? The closest I find is this book excerpt (from 1914) which states:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Y8NXAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA274&lpg=PA274

    The present immigration act imposes a fine of $100 on any steamship company presenting a case of tuberculosis for entry and provides for the deportation of aliens suffering from tuberculosis before they have been in the country three years. After this period it is not lawful to deport them.

    We have come a long way from having simple and sensible immigration policies.

  88. res says:
    @Hail

    Corona are known to have have a lower spreading threshold (before the herd immunity mechanism kicks in and ends the epidemic) than influenza viruses.

    On what evidence do you base this statement?

    My understanding is that the herd immunity threshold is primarily determined by R0 (well, Re at a given moment, as discussed elsewhere). The COVID-19 R0 looks to be around 2.5 compared to 1.5 for the typical flu.

    If you have information to the contrary then please enlighten us.

    Coronaviruses are also part of the regular circulation of flu viruses, something I think is still not widely known.

    I thought it was understood pretty widely that coronaviruses caused some proportion of the common cold.
    https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-symptoms-vs-cold
    But I have been known to overestimate people.

    Unlike every other coronavirus, almost all of which were ignored totally and circulated mainly in late-winter with the population, bloodthirsty media, and pro-Panic coalition-in-waiting entirely unaware, this one assembled a coalition around itself to promote fear of it. The reasons are many. It actually became a virus-centered religious cult, and the media were its superspreaders.

    Nice rhetoric. Do you think that helps matters?

    What is different is an R0 which looks to be around 2.5 (compared to 1.5 for the typical flu) and an IFR which is looking to be in the 0.5-1% range and looked even higher early, which is a big part of what scared people and provoked the extreme response.

  89. HA says:
    @HA

    Actually, come to think of it, maybe they could get away with contact tracing just for the elderly, as a start. I mean, if someone is willing to let old people die anyway, maybe they’d not care so much if they were contact-traced beforehand (though there’d always be some libertarian hero who would insist that it’s better that they all die rather than doing anything that might eventually lead to contact tracing for him).

    At least that way, people could work out some of the Constitutional difficulties, and figure out (to some extent) where they are most at risk. And if you ever want to visit them in the care facility, you’d need to have the app installed yourself for a certain number of days. That kind of thing.

  90. @HA

    But that’s not how it works in America, at least not with a virus whose victims are regarded by so many others as not really worth saving or else, to put it frankly, deserving of death

    That is the view of the kooky 10%, and those folks spend a lot of time spewing their insanity on-line.

    In my corner of the US, the “muh liberty” solipsists are easy to spot and avoid–they are the ones not wearing masks.

  91. leterip says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Doctors generally know when they have reached the point of greatly diminishing returns with their elderly patients. They know that further treatment makes little sense unless the patient’s only goal is to achieve a bit more life no matter what. Often patients are fine with forgoing treatment but do not have that desire properly documented. Therefore, families insist on more useless but very expensive treatment. It was only recently that Medicare started to pay physicians to have compassionate end of life discussions with patients and their families.

    I am surprised you don’t think the USA, on average, goes overboard on trivial extensions to the end of life.

    Looks like Sweden might have a more reasonable approach.

  92. Lagertha says:

    I am so enjoying American Democrats just losing their sh*t with Sweden. And, funnily enough, I always looked down on Sweden (very corrupt, very degenerate, very “low-energy” country) but now, I am strangely, proud of them. They did the correct thing with Covid.

    And, you won’t hear this anywhere, because you are not Scandinavian nor Finnish: the Somali and African population in Swedish cities were particularly hit the hardest; after seniors. Many victims ignored the social workers (in all countries) who beseeched them to take Vitamin B, C, D supplements (lack of sunlight/warm weather 8 months a year).

    Dairy is a staple for native ethnics; as is oily fish like herring, salmon, sardines, trout. And, fat from hogs – hogs were the one animal of high protein for humans, that could stay alive eating garbage throughout the centuries.

  93. dfordoom says: • Website
    @utu

    “What exactly is your complete formula for what this is “about”?” – Political will. It took 49 days for NZ to accomplish virus elimination. Taiwan 7 deaths total. Last new infection on May 7.

    Political will is the only answer to solving any problem.

  94. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Mark G.

    Very few people are going to visit a country where they have to stay quarantined first for for two weeks.

    On the other hand New Zealand now has one huge advantage. They can present New Zealand as a safe tourist destination.

    They get a lot of tourists from Australia. To an Australian planning an overseas holiday New Zealand is going to be a very attractive proposition.

    Considering that a lot of tourists are older retired people in high-risk categories New Zealand could be looking forward to a booming tourism industry.

  95. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    It would seem like testing could replace quarantine for travelers. New Zealand could demand that airlines carrying travelers test before they get on the plane to come to New Zealand and then NZ customs would also test travelers when they arrive. If they are positive upon arrival, the airline gets socked with a big fine.

    Which may well be exactly what those clever Kiwis have in mind. So far the New Zealand government has given every indication that they have an actual plan and that they intend to carry it out.

  96. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    It is to make clear that strategies which work to eliminate the virus on an island may not be sufficient to do so for a country with land borders which are not easily closed.

    Closing borders is mostly a matter of political will. And in an era of international air travel being an island is no longer the advantage it once was.

    I agree that being an island is still some advantage but competent government is a much bigger advantage.

    In Australia we’ve even managed to control our internal borders (land borders!), the borders between the states. However did we manage that?

    Being an island is an advantage. Competent government and political will are much bigger advantages.

  97. dfordoom says: • Website
    @HA

    many others would rather have grandma die than to allow Google or Bill Gates to know where they are.

    Yep. That’s the problem that a lot of people here don’t want to face. There really are people who are happy to see others die rather than face some infringement of their beloved freedoms, or due to their paranoia, or simply because they really are vicious uncaring people.

    And those people who are happy to sacrifice other people’s lives are all to be found these days on the political Right. That’s the major problem that the Right faces – they are perceived to be vicious and uncaring because many of them actually are vicious and uncaring.

    Maybe the Right needs to face up to this. Maybe the reason so many people vote Democrat is because the Republicans really do have a very unpleasant side to them. Maybe people who dislike the political Right have some valid reasons for doing so.

    • Agree: HA
    • Replies: @anon
  98. HA says:
    @Anon

    “…some grandmothers are nasty abusive people like you who are no more worthy of sympathy than an ant.”

    THAT’s your defense? “OK, your honor, maybe I did fire into that crowd of old people, but you gotta remember some of them were mean and cranky and bitter”.

    When it comes bo being nasty, maybe you’re not one to be pointing fingers at others. Again, if people wonder why the coronahoaxers are regarded as kooks and psychopaths, look no further than to comments such as these.

    And for what it’s worth, it seems the Swedish elderly with pneumonia were doped up with morphine:

    https://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/covidsjuka-jan-81-fick-palliativ-vard-blev-frisk-nar-familjen-satte-stopp/ (it’s paywalled, but see here for one translation.)

    So, giving morphine — a muscle relaxant — to someone struggling to breathe makes their struggle that much harder, and their death that much more certain, but it does reduce the pain and presumably the awareness of what is happening. Make of that what you will. And hey, some of them are mean people, right?, so it would be nasty of me to try and invoke sympathy for them. That makes ME the bad guy in this scenario. Is that the gist?

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  99. anon[127] • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    And those people who are happy to sacrifice other people’s lives are all to be found these days on the political Right.

    When did Mario Cuomo become “found” on the political Right? When did American blacks move to the political Right? The people who would resist smartphone handset tracing aren’t just your imaginary survivalists in the hills; people who engage in illegal activities also wouldn’t care for it.

    Did you even read the paragraph you were replying to? Does not look like it. Too stuck in your late 20th century binary thinking, perhaps.

    You keep missing the main point that res and others have made, perhaps because of your blinkered, provincial outlook. The world is bigger than your corner of Oz, you know, much bigger.

    HA
    And for what it’s worth, it seems the Swedish elderly with pneumonia were doped up with morphine

    Not really a surprise. It’s one of the darker sides of “one, big, happy, socialist, third-way family” that nobody is supposed to see. Sweden was castrating male social undesireables for much of the 20th century, too. Their version of eugenics.

  100. Parfois1 says:
    @HA

    And for what it’s worth, it seems the Swedish elderly with pneumonia were doped up with morphine:

    Thanks for the link. Not all is roses in the last bastion of “freedom and liberty”. I wonder whether that is the reason for the “Swedish success” bandied about: getting rid of the surplus masses. CoVid-19 as cover for involuntary euthanasia.

    • Replies: @HA
  101. HA says:
    @Parfois1

    “I wonder whether that is the reason for the “Swedish success” bandied about: getting rid of the surplus masses.”

    That’s a good point. I wonder how much of their economic surplus in the post-COVID climate will be due to having seized an opportunity to, as you aptly alluded, “decrease the surplus population.”

    It’s odd how many on the alt-right are embracing hard-left medical solutions. The horseshoe theory vindicated yet again.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments are moderated by iSteve, at whim.


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
How a Young Syndicate Lawyer from Chicago Earned a Fortune Looting the Property of the Japanese-Americans, then Lived...
Becker update V1.3.2